Best Answers to Tricky Interview Questions

Strange and Tricky Interview Questions

"If you were an animal, what kind of animal would you be?" You may be thinking that is a strange interview question. Strange? Yes. Uncommon? No.

At your next job interview, you will probably discover that some strange and tricky interview questions have become very popular with many interviewers.

Oh, they still ask about your strengths and your weaknesses. And I guarantee they will ask that overworked question: "Tell me about yourself."

But these days, interviewers also ask a number of tricky questions. Why? Because these off-the-wall questions are designed to make you think quickly and creatively.

The interviewer wants to learn more about your personality by judging how rapidly your mind works. And can you think out-of-the-box?

“Every day I get up and look through the Forbes list of the richest people in America. If I'm not there, I go to work." -- Robert Orben

Tiger - Good example
Tiger - Good example
Koala - Too cute
Koala - Too cute
Platypus - Too weird
Platypus - Too weird
Sequoia (redwood) tree
Sequoia (redwood) tree
Japanese manhole covers
Japanese manhole covers

Do you want to be able to give the best proven answers to these strange tricky questions? Of course you do. Here are ten tricky questions you may be asked.

This is your opportunity to be clever and creative when you respond . . .

. . . Or, simply memorize the following best answers:

Wait a minute!

There were two questions on this list that I am not including below. Why?

Because I have learned, although the two are still tricky, most folks already know that the answer to the "If you were an animal ..." question is a strong, intelligent animal like a tiger, lion, elephant, or Cape buffalo.

And you might want to respond: “I would be as aggressive as a tiger in following up on sales leads.”

Or “I have the memory of an elephant when it comes to remembering what the client prefers."

Or "I have the strength and endurance of a Cape buffalo when it comes to negotiating terms."

Do not answer: panda or koala. Too cute, too lovable. Do not answer: laughing hyena or platypus. Too weird, too strange.

The second popular question is "If you were a tree, what tree would you be?" Select a sequoia (redwood) or oak - a tree that is strong and sturdy.

Best Answers to 10 Tricky Questions

1 – Why are manhole covers round?

The interviewer is testing your imagination and creativity. Microsoft was the first to make this question famous by asking it as a standard job interview question.

You can answer as follows:

“a – A round manhole cover cannot fall through its circular opening.

b – A heavy, round manhole cover can be more easily moved by being rolled.

c – If a car rolls over a dislodged manhole that is square or triangular, the sharp corners could puncture a tire, but a round manhole doesn't have corners.”

Best Answers to Tough Questions

2 – If Martians landed in front of you and offered you any position on their planet, what is the first thing you would do?

The most creative answer I ever heard was: “The first thing I would do is go change my pants because the Martians scared the crap out of me. Then I would ask to travel with them so I could scare the crap out of others.”

Creative? Yes. Appropriate? No.

Offering to be the Travel Director would be creative and imaginative. But the rest of the answer is crappy. (forgive me)

3 – If you wrote an autobiography, what do you think the title should be?

Your answer will be interpreted as a clue to your personality, creativity, accomplishments and degree of humility.

Something like: “How I Use Stephen Covey’s ‘The 7 Habits of Highly Effective People’” would be appropriate for any supervisory or managerial position. But read the book first, please.

An excellent title might be: “Yes, I Can.” Sammy Davis, the entertainer, used that one for his autobiography back in the day. The title may be seen to represent your self-confidence and positive self-esteem.

“During job interviews, when the interviewer asks: ‘What is your biggest weakness?’ I always say: ‘Flatulence’.

That way I get my own office.” – Dan Thompson

4 – What would your mother (or father) say is your greatest weakness?

Be aware that it isn’t your parent responding; it’s you. This is a negative question to trick you. Repeat a strength that appears to be a weakness but really isn’t.

“To improve my public speaking skills, I joined Toastmasters International.”

It’s also fairly safe to use something your mother might have told you as a child: “Stop drinking milk out of the carton. Use a glass!"

5 – What kind of people do you find it difficult to work with?

Do not name the members of any political party, race, religion, ethnic group, minority or fraternal affiliation.

Say something like: “There are no particular people I find it difficult to work with, but I do find some behaviors annoying – such as not completing work assignments on time, gossiping, laziness, avoiding responsibility, procrastination …”

Genghis Khan portrayed by John Wayne in 'The Conqueror' (1956)
Genghis Khan portrayed by John Wayne in 'The Conqueror' (1956)

“By working faithfully 8 hours a day you may eventually get to be boss and work 12 hours a day.” – Robert Frost

6 – If you were an Historical or Film character, which one would it be?

Select a character that appears to be a strong and intelligent leader and a risk-taker. Say: Abraham Lincoln or George Washington. Do not name recent Democrats or Republicans. They may not be as appealing to the interviewer.

If you are a film devotee, “Captain Kirk … Spock … Obi-Wan Kenobi.” These characters denote strength, wisdom and leadership.

Yoda and Jabba the Hut? Not so much.

If you are a genuine risk-taker, travel further back in history and say "Genghis Khan." But be prepared to justify your selection.

"As Genghis Khan, I would annihilate our competition.”

7 – What makes you most angry?

This is an example of a leading question. Do not admit to having any episodes of anger. Ever.

Say: “I try to handle issues or conflicts as soon as they arise so that they don't build up to the anger point.”

Try to avoid using the word, problems. It reeks of negativity.

A bum asked me “Give me $10 till payday.” I asked, "When's payday?" He said, "I don't know, you're the one who is working!" – Henny Youngman

8 – On a scale of 1 to 10 how happy are you?

A little humor will work for this one: “Usually I am an 8 or 9, but will quickly become a 10 when I get this job.”

Notice I suggest using the word, ‘when’ not ‘if’. It is another indicator of self-confidence.

Lovable pet
Lovable pet
Lovable iPhone and iPad
Lovable iPhone and iPad

9 – You only have time to save three things from a fire in your home. Your family is safe. What are the three things?

Your answer reflects your values and priorities. Most people respond: “pets ... important documents ... photographs ... scrapbooks ... laptop ... iPad ...cellphone ... mother-in-law (just kidding).

Be prepared to explain why you would save these items.

Thought for the Day: Life is like a doughnut. You're either in the dough or in the hole.

10 – What motto guides your life?

Always wear clean underwear in case you get in an accident.”

Use this adage only if you have discovered the interviewer has a sense of humor, and it would not be inappropriate. If in doubt, leave it out.

“Never put off until tomorrow what you can do today” may be trite but it works. Trust me!

When you go to your interview, remember to smile sincerely, shake hands firmly, display your knowledge of the company, and write your thank-you letter or email later that day.

© Copyright BJ Rakow, Ph.D. 2012. All rights reserved. Author, "Much of What You Know about Job Search Just Ain't So."

Readers of my job search book say it provided them with the information they needed to write a dynamic resume and cover letter, network effectively, interview, and negotiate salary successfully. There is also a chapter especially for older workers.

More by this Author

Comments for Best Answers to Tricky Interview Questions 88 comments

John MacNab profile image

John MacNab 4 years ago from the banks of the St. Lawrence

Absoluely fabulous - and fascinating as well. I bow to your superior Hubbing skills - and sense of humour.

Becky Katz profile image

Becky Katz 4 years ago from Hereford, AZ

Wonderful information, as usual. I always enjoy your humor and information filled hubs.

arb profile image

arb 4 years ago from oregon

Such questions only solidify ones need to be self employed. That way when you interveiw yourself the ridiculous questions will fall in closer proximity to the absurd answer. None-the-less, as always, an interesting write from a favorite writer.

Just Ask Susan profile image

Just Ask Susan 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

I've used the elephant answer before. I think it was for a promotion :) I'll have to print this hub out as I may need to reference it one day.

Thanks for the laughs!

mary615 profile image

mary615 4 years ago from Florida

I'm happy I no longer have to answer questions on a job interview, but if I ever have to go back to work (and that may be soon), I'll keep this Hub to refer back to for the correct answers.

I voted this Hub UP, etc.

Alastar Packer profile image

Alastar Packer 4 years ago from North Carolina

"Tell me about yourself." "Well, the prosecutors say i'm criminally minded but Danny boy here is workin on bein' better - only been in jail four times. Four failed marriages, too, but only one were my doins. Oh, have some trouble paying that child support an i butt heads with the work supers a lot. Now, how about that job Mister?" LOL forgive me Drbj - out-of-the-box couldn't resist!

My friend these employment questions were funny, brilliant, incisive- as in penetratingly clever and where in the world were they when i needed them. Great useful compilation set in your own inimitable drbj style. Faves have to be 1,5,6 and 7. Up and three m'lady!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Dear John (that sounds familiar somehow), thank you for being so prompt to recognize my absolutely fabulous, fascinating, humorous and superior hubbing skills. You do know the right things to write.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

What a coincidence, Becky. You always enjoy my humorous, information-filled hubs, and I always enjoy your wonderful informative comments. Thank you, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You hit the nail on the head, arb. Self-employment, especially when it is fairy profitable, is THE way to go in this unpredictable world of ours.

Yes, the questions may seem ridiculous but they do often elicit very interesting information that assists the interviewer in making a choice. And the more absurd the question, I have found, the more open the candidate often becomes. Thanks for finding this interesting. I'll strive to remain a favorite writer.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

How clever, Susan, that you used the elephant answer before. Did you get the promotion? Of course you did. How could anyone fail to recognize your motivation and creativity!

Yes, please do use this hub as reference should you ever need it. As far as the laughs are concerned, you are most welcome, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, mary, my fellow Floridian. It is comforting not to worry about having to answer tricky interviewing questions, but if you ever need any assistance, just let me know.

Thanks for keeping this hub as reference and the UP, etc., m'luv.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I have a job opportunity for you, Alastar. You are just the candidate they are looking for. Familiar with prison procedures (jailed 4 times); skilled in ending unhealthy relationships (married 4 times); independent leader (butted heads with supervisors).

Would you be interested in a position as Prison Warden. Pay is nominal but all the ham hocks and collard greens you can eat.

You are out of the box, too, my friend. Thank you for your gracious (and absolutely true) comments. Signing off in my inimitable style and delighted you enjoyed this exercise.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Forgot to add, thanks for the Up and three, two ... I mean, too.

Dexter Yarbrough profile image

Dexter Yarbrough 4 years ago from United States

Hi DR BJ! I have never asked (or been asked) any of these questions but I am now prepared! Great! Great!

Austinstar profile image

Austinstar 4 years ago from Somewhere in the universe

What kind of people do I find it difficult to work with? - the kind that breathe. I hate when flu season comes around.

Animal? - a bear who likes to hibernate a lot.

Tree? - Petrified wood, tough as nails

Star Wars? - the Emperor

Manhole covers are round because they remind us of giant coins and they make great collectibles.

My autobiography? - The Great and Terrible Cat Strikes Again

My mom or dad can't say what my greatest weakness is - they're dead.

YOU are making me angry - what's with the 20 questions?

Motto: as Einstein said, "the only two things that are infinite - the universe and human stupidity and I'm not sure about the latter"

Three things to save - my car keys, any spare cash and my collection of manhole covers.

happiness on a scale of one to ten? - I'm a 15 brother!

If Martians landed in front of me? - I would offer them the two elixirs of life: coffee and lo-carb Monster. Then we would sit and discuss the infinite universe.

Can you tell I'm retired now?

AliciaC profile image

AliciaC 4 years ago from British Columbia, Canada

These are entertaining questions and helpful answers, drbj. I've never been asked these questions before, but I certainly want to be prepared in case I ever have to deal with them! I'll keep a record of your suggestions - they may be exactly what I need some day!

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

What an interesting hub, drbj! Well, I am definitely a wild cat of a sort - not the type you can have as a pet. I creep upon my prey very carefully and kill them with one secure bite. But sometimes I am a dump buck of a kind, storming the enemy horns fists. But oh, I feel like a willow - not drooping, but an umbrella for those who have no clue where they are and what they're supposed to do... But not for long. Then I'll change into a slender cypress, bereaving them of shade - After all, there is a time and a place for everything...

I am pimping this one on my FB wall... really interesting!

BTW, please go to your settings and allow pending and sleeping hubs to show on your profile... :)))

always exploring profile image

always exploring 4 years ago from Southern Illinois

I am so happy that I no longer need to answer questions, but If I did, I would certainly remember your clever answers. BTW, I chose the Fox, the elm and Spock. Dare I say? " If Mitt wins, I will have to go back to work, so I will print this valuable hub so I can refer back"..Hee..Cheers.

teaches12345 profile image

teaches12345 4 years ago

I have heard of the animal question, the others are new to me. I voted this way up for the useful information. I can use this for my professional development class. Thank you!

unizm1980 4 years ago

Thanks for posting this. It won't just help job seekers who are gonna face some tough questions during an interview, but it would even help them relax and laugh a little to release the tension.

Pamela99 profile image

Pamela99 4 years ago from United States

I'm glad I'm not being interviewed for jobs anymore with all these wild questions. Of course, I would be a tiger, a sequoia, and so forth. My mother always did tell me to wear clean underwear in case I was in an accident! Loved your entertaining hub, and it sounds useful for those out there pounding the pavement (another old saying that ages me).

akirchner profile image

akirchner 4 years ago from Central Oregon

So BJ--answering the question what makes you angry with "everything" is PRObably not the best answer right? Or what motto best guides your life..."If you want to act like a turd, go lay in the yard." Or what kind of people do you find it difficult to work with--"everyone except ME because I'm that freaking good! ...and they're all IDIOTS!" And if there was a fire and I could only save 3 things.."my dogs and Bob...but me thinks that's 4 already~Maybe my Cuisinart or my mixer~I'd say my cookbooks but that would take some time and a lot of boxes~"

I've found these haven't helped me snag those high level positions I'm always after and I can't figure out why--they're great answers!

I would probably get sweaty palms and develop a stutter if I had to come up with answers to these kinds of questions. I have noticed though that the flavor of interviewing has changed though and isn't so much about what you can do or what you have done--but rather about how good you are at slinging BS about yourself--whether it's true or not. Since I'm so bloody concrete and honest...Houston, we have a problem!

Actually if I wanted to give a good answer for what animal would you be my answer would probably be a horse...put me in the yoke and turn me loose. It'll be done before you know it~

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Thanks for the good laugh along with some excellent tips on interviewing. My favorite was the Star Trek - Star Wars one. Thanks, I would have said Yoda. Too old. I'll be passing this along to the hubster who is in this pit even right this moment at a lunch interview. I wonder if he'll be asked about the animal thing and I hope he doesn't say warthog. Or mention the flatulence thing.

snakeslane profile image

snakeslane 4 years ago from Canada

drbj, Thank you! I have a job interview coming up in five days. The hardest part for me is the interview. I just clam up! This will help. I wish I had your book. Is it an ebook? Love your sense of humor. Regards, snakeslane

PallaviGaurav profile image

PallaviGaurav 4 years ago from South Africa.

too good..i just loved it...thanks for providing us with such friendly and useful hub.i will take these points into consideration while i am being interviewed.

Nell Rose profile image

Nell Rose 4 years ago from England

Love this! knowing me I would answer with all the wrong animals, trees etc, my sense of humor would pop up and that would be that! made me smile though! lol!

b. Malin profile image

b. Malin 4 years ago

Lover Man would be an Elephant and I would be... ah, ah, Unicorn? Oh I don't an Ex-Head Hunter ( I got Jobs for people back in the 90's) and my track record was Pretty Good. Fun Hub, Drbj. Seriously, the Questions are Good, no we didn't do that with our Clients, just helped them with Resumes.and how to Dress etc. and sending "Thank You" notes to whomever interview them and also a Follow up phone call.

christopheranton profile image

christopheranton 4 years ago from Gillingham Kent. United Kingdom

I would have thought an alligator would be a good animal in a sales job, because they wait patiently and when they pounce they always get to eat the duck.

Apart from that, I salute your wisdom and your wit.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Dex, delighted you are now prepared for these tricky interview questions. I'm happy to have done my part toward your future success.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I should have known better, Lela, than to give you this opportunity to display what I already know is your outstanding ingenuity and thinking-out-of-the-box-ness.

Your creative answers are hilarious and you would be hired in a New York minute if I were interviewing you. If you ever decide to un-retire, let me know, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Alicia, I am happy to provide you with these 'entertaining questions and helpful answers.' Even if you have never encountered such tricky interview questions before, it is good to be prepared. And for you, m'dear, the fee is waived.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hallo, liewe Martie. Wow! What a dangerous employee you would be. But then again, a 'wildcat' would be perfect for a negotiating job. Your opponent would be afraid to say, No. But you must refrain from killing the opposition, m'dear - it's bad for business.

From your profile, I know you are as lovely as a willow tree and from your writings, aware of your big cypress-like heart. Thank you for pimping this one on your FB wall - you are indeed liewe.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I'm happy for you, too, Ruby, that you no longer need to deal with interview questions, tricky or otherwise.

So you chose a sly fox? Hmmmmmm! That was daring. And the elm is indeed strong and trustworthy.

Now Spock? You ARE an adventurer, m'dear.

Here's hoping that whatever the election outcome, you don't have to go back to work unless you wish to. Cheers backatcha!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Dianna, happy to keep you apprised of the most often-heard tricky interview questions and best answers. Please do use this for your professional development class. Job seekers/changers today need all the help they can get. Thank you for the Up!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, unizm1980. You are so right. Knowing some of the tricky interviewing questions and best answers beforehand provides a great deal of reassurance as well as relieving tension for respective job seekers. You are most perceptive.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy you no longer face the interviewing scene, Pamela. Wild, tricky questions are often the norm these days.

Strong answers, m'dear, and your mother knew what she was talking about. Thank you for loving my 'entertaining' hub.

Pounding the pavement, eh? Don't feel too old, m'dear. In my time it was dirt sidewalks - cement hadn't been invented yet! Heh, heh.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Audrey, for sharing your creative answers to some of these tricky questions. Yes, m'luv, saying that 'everything' makes you angry may not be the answer the interviewer would like to hear. Especially if the job you are applying for is Manager of the department store complaint department.

Although the 'turd' answer about favorite motto could win you a position with a fertilizer organization. Or the your city's local Sanitation Department.

I do understand your creative answer about others being IDIOTS - it appears you may have enviable experience working with cretins.

As for what you would save from a house afire, we could lump your 3 dogs together in the pets category so together with Bob you would have the opportunity to save one more thing like your favorite household appliance. Oh, wait, maybe Bob falls into that category! :)

I would think twice about the answer, 'horse,' for favorite animal though. Employers might expect you to work as hard as one while not earning much 'hay' for your efforts.

I've found these haven't helped me snag those high level positions I'm always after and I can't figure out why--they're great answers!

You are so right that the flavor of interviewing has changed through the years. Instead of subjective questions about what WOULD you do in a certain situation, now you are asked behavioral questions about what DID you do?

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Almost forgot, Audrey ---

Slinging the bull in today's world may help you to succeed, m'luv, but it is politically correct to label that talent as enhancing one's interpersonal skills!!!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for the funny comments, Peg. Delighted you found this a good laugh was well as excellent interviewing tips. There were so many Star Wars films I don't remember the title of the one I enjoyed the most. But it was the first one that featured that out of this world bar populated by out of this world characters. Really wild.

Yoda was clever but I think already over the hill. By all means, pass this along to anyone involved in or contemplating an interview. Tiger would be stronger and more imposing than warthog for the animal question.

And the flatulence thing - stay far away from that one!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Good luck, snakeslane, on your upcoming interview. You might also like to review my two previous hubs on answering interview questions: 'Answers to Interview Questions - Part One,' and 'Part Two.' Rehearse your best answers beforehand with a friend so you will be less tense during the actual interview.

Thank you for your interest in my book which is currently available only in paperback ( And thanks for loving my sense of humor.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, PallaviGaurav. Yes, please review these questions and best answers before you go to your actual interview. Thanks for loving this hub and it was my pleasure to provide 'such friendly, useful' information. Best of luck.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

So glad this made you smile, Nell. Don't worry about answering with the wrong animals, trees, etc. A sense of humor like yours would go a long way toward influencing an interviewer in a positive way. Trust me.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

So your choice, B., would be an Elephant and Lover Man, a Unicorn? Whatever works for you, m'dear. The tricky interview questions have become more common in the last ten years so I'm not surprised if you did not encounter them in the 90s.

As an Executive Coach, I found that many senior managers and executives were often asked off-the-wall questions like these. Lower level employees - not so much. But occasionally like you, I assisted them with resumes, cover letters and negotiating strategies.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

I dunno about the alligator choice, christopher. The interviewer might appreciate your patience and strength as an Alligator. But not so sure they would wish to have the customer devoured. Thank you for stopping by, my friend, and the salute to my 'wisdom and wit' has already been filed in my memory banks ... such as they are!

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

Great advice and some good chuckles ...

I liked the the martians landing on your front lawn question.

I remember watching all those old movies and the guys going up to the spaceship so trustingly just before a space ray blasted them to bits!

I always thought...only in the movies...duh! LOL.

MartieCoetser profile image

MartieCoetser 4 years ago from South Africa

drbj, your Afrikaans is coming on.....

Dankie, my liewe vriendin!


Is it not strange how we can steal a person's heart by making only a small effort to learn a word or two of their language?

Thelma Alberts profile image

Thelma Alberts 4 years ago from Germany

What an interesting hub! Funny interviews with useful answers. I enjoyed reading it. Thanks for sharing, drbj.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Scribenet, happy I could provide some chuckles with the 'great' advice. Speaking of old outer space movies, did you ever see "Plan B?" It's so bad in every way that it's funny. Even the title where they forgot to spell planet correctly.

Thanks for appreciating the wisdom behind the Martians landing on one's lawn question.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

It's only fair, Martie, that I steal your heart since you have already stolen mine with your sweet comments and generous nature. Jy is baie welkom! :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

So you enjoyed these funny interviews with the useful answers? You made my day, Thelma. And what a coincidence. I enjoyed writing it. Trust me.

Scribenet profile image

Scribenet 4 years ago from Ontario, Canada

drjb...I am not sure if I have seen Plan B...but I will for certain now that you have mentioned it...I love the really bad outer space movies and the old ones are terribly funny with the cardboard instrument panels and the wooden dialogue and aliens that wave their arms around....not to mention the spacecraft on a string bumping along in outer space.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Forgot to add: If you have cable TV, watch for it; it's often on after midnight.

carolina muscle profile image

carolina muscle 4 years ago from Charlotte, North Carolina

I love this hub! I know one thing tho... if they asked me the ones about Martians, I'd tell em I wanted to be Director of Human Resources... cause it's so hard to find good ones. :-)

precy anza profile image

precy anza 4 years ago from San Diego

I'd remember this (hopefully I can) and I can always come back and re read in case I got into an interview ^-^' Loved and enjoyed reading this! :) Voted up!

barbergirl28 profile image

barbergirl28 4 years ago from Hemet, Ca

I am so glad that you wrote this article. I have a tendency to not always think fast on my feet and come out of answering these questions sounding somewhat retarded. Luckily the only person I have to impress is my husband and my kids cause I work for myself. But if I do have an interview - I will definitely have to refer back to this!

DzyMsLizzy profile image

DzyMsLizzy 4 years ago from Oakley, CA

I, with several others who have commented, no longer have to worry about this, and I am "sort of" self-employed--have been for over a dozen years, now. Hubby is fully retired on disability, and I am on Social Security, so I have the luxury of thinking of all the snarky answers I'd like to give to some of those idiotic questions.

After a stint working for three years as a "temp," then trying to get hired onto permanent staff, I found myself unemployed when the company moved the department out of state. Everyone liked me; I got on well. What happened? Plain old-fashioned age discrimination and "filling minority race quotas." Hard to prove, if you formally challenge, but I analyzed the situations, and I know those to be the facts of the matter.

'Tell me about yourself." That would be a question I'd answer with a question: "What do you want to know?"

I'll tell you one thing: I say what I mean, and I mean what I say. I don't and won't play political games. I don't appreciate underhanded sneaky questions trying to trip me up. I would appreciate straight-forward, honest questions. Ask what you really want to know, giving concrete examples instead of stupid metaphors. Metaphors have a place in literature and sometimes in politics, but not here.

"What makes me angry?" People in HR departments who think up idiotic questions to ask job candidates. It's tough enough to find work without having to tap dance through flaming hoops while standing on your head.

And one question that always pops up, not mentioned in your hub: "Why do you want to work here?" You are always advised to research the company and know something about them. Here are my feelings on that matter:

Well, moron, living costs money, and everyone needs a job to earn that money for a roof over their heads and food in their bellies. I don't especially care where I work as long as I get a job, and the company's products or ethics don't conflict with my own.

Like I said--snarky, and would never earn me a job anywhere, unless it was at a company that valued true honesty. If I have to play games, and bend my answers into pretzels to fit their mold, then they, themselves are not being forthright, and can I trust them not to be back-stabbers if I am an employee? I doubt it. The days of loyalty to any company, and company loyalty to its employees is a faded memory lost to history.

livingsta profile image

livingsta 4 years ago from United Kingdom

Enjoyed reading this hub, thank you for sharing!

Voted up and interesting!

Rosemay50 profile image

Rosemay50 4 years ago from Hawkes Bay - NewZealand

Thank goodness I no longer have to go for interviews. A Funny and enjoyable read.

For an animal I would choose a giraffe, I would be able to see what was happening all around me... and besides I'm tired of being only 5 ft tall.

Historical charater I would be Queen Hatshepsut. The economy was apparently booming while she held power for 20 years. You know perhaps the politicians should be asked these questions.

Voting Up and more

Niteriter profile image

Niteriter 4 years ago from Canada

Your List of Questions is captivating and your answers soar into the stratosphere where humanity's greatest ideas reside. And you, Dr. Rakow, are the most enchanting person I have ever met; my only true ambition is to develop myself to the point where I am exactly like you.

May I please have the job without telling you a little about myself?

As always, I am your eternally devoted fan!

marcoujor profile image

marcoujor 4 years ago from Jeffersonville PA

Cool and crafty way to ascertain core characteristics of competitors, whether interviewing for a corporation or a corral...

Your charismatic and charming style challenges us to be creative in our communications.

Voted UP and across the board. Hugs, Maria

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for the visit, Chris. Yes, it IS hard to find good ones whether you are referring to the Director of Human Resources . . . or the Martian!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

You will have no difficulty, precy, remembering these tricky question answers. Just repeat them to yourself twenty times each before retiring each night . . . and again upon awakening each morning. Works like a charm. Trust me.

Thanks for loving and enjoying this and the Up, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

If you have a tendency, Stacy, to not always think fast on your feet, that is called thoughtful ... NOT retarded. Delighted you work for yourself since I, too, after trying to retire from the corporate world three times in a row, finally succeeded. Now I have the most understanding boss in the world . . . me!

Do keep this hub for reference though - just in case. :)

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy to learn, Lizzie, that you are "sort of" self-employed. Thanks for taking the time to share some 'snarky' answers to tricky interview questions.

Yes, ageism is alive and well in the U.S. but is never ever given as the reason for an employee's dismissal from a company. Instead it is 'reorganization' or 'downsizing,' etc.

Whenever I heard the 'Tell me about yourself' question, like you, I would ask, 'What would you like to know?

When interviewers ask these tricky metaphorical questions, often the answers are not as important as how quickly you can think on your feet or out of the box.

Your answer to 'What makes me angry?' might give you satisfaction but would not result in many job offers. Trust me.

The question, 'Why do you want to work here?' is asked to learn how much you know about the company. They don't care how much you need the job - only how much you know about them.

Your last sentence says it all, m'dear: 'The days of loyalty to any company, and company loyalty to its employees is a faded memory lost to history.' True!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Nice to meet you, livingsta. Happy you enjoyed reading this and it was my pleasure to share.

Voted up and interesting!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Happy that you no longer have to attend job interviews, Rosemary. A giraffe is a clever answer, m'dear, and would certainly give you a higher perspective.

I'll have to research Queen Hatshepsut to learn how she held power for so many years. Would not be surprised to learn she was gifted at networking!

As for asking politicians these answers, they know how to slip slide away from actually answering.

Thanks for finding this a funny and enjoyable read and the Up vote and more, m'dear.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thank you, Niteriter, for finding my questions captivating and my answers stratospheric. That's a first. What sublime comments you have made, my friend, you're not on meds I hope. But I have to admit, I don't think the world is ready for another 'me.'

And you know, after those outstanding comments the job is yours ... at double the salary!

Thank you, my friend, for being my eternally devoted fan. The feeling is mutual.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Maria, thank you for finding this cool and crafty - two of my favorite superlatives. To be effective at answering tricky interview questions one must be inventive and ingenious in order to ignite inspiration in the interviewer.

Whether for a company, corporation, commune, collective or community, creativity counts! Thank you for finding my style charismatic and charming. That now makes two of us. And thanks, too, for the Up across the board. :)

tillsontitan profile image

tillsontitan 4 years ago from New York

How lucky I am to be among the retired! However, your imagination and creativity leave trails of laughter all over hubville!

Employer beware, we are spreading this hub and no HR department will ever be safe again!

Voted up, useful, funny, and shared. I pinned this too, I had to.

Sharkye11 profile image

Sharkye11 4 years ago from Oklahoma

Very entertaining! I love the combination of humor and useful tips! I guess using a snake as your animal personality wouldn't go over very well.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, tillsontitan. So you are retired? I'm happy for you. And I am lucky that you found this hub upon which to comment. Spread the contents among HR departments wherever you find them.

Thanks for your gracious comments: 'imagination and creativity (that) leave trails of laughter' have become new all-time favorites of mine.

Thanks, too, for the Up and assorted kudos and subsequent pinning. You now have a place reserved in my heart.

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Sharkye11 - welcome! Thanks for finding this entertaining, humorous and useful. No, my new friend, a snake as your animal might not be construed as the most positive choice.

Unless you were applying for a position as a covert C.I.A. operative or corporate spy. Then a reptile could be perfect. Just sayin'.

dahoglund profile image

dahoglund 4 years ago from Wisconsin Rapids

When I was in the job search part of my life I was always baffled by the questions interviewers asked me. It also worked the other way. When I went to work for the government I asked the interviewer what my job would be. He said"that's a strange question. It still seems like a most rational question to me. If anyone asked me the questions here, I am sure my mind would have gone completely blank since I cannot imagine myself as any kind of animal or tree..

voted up, funny and shared with followers

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Don. So happy for you that you are beyond the job-searching portion of your life. Why am I not surprised that a government interviewer thought your query about your proposed job as strange? Probably because for 2 years I worked for the Florida Dept. of Labor as Director of an Outplacement Center for dislocated (laid off) airline workers and discovered personally how strange and bewildering working in a governmental office can be. Irrational is the adjective that would apply.

Thanks for your kind comments, the up and the sharing.

PegCole17 profile image

PegCole17 4 years ago from Dallas, Texas

Had a chance to drop back by Drbj. Isn't it funny when I look for a hub to read that I seem to pick the same ones over and again. Just a note on the happy side of the interview questions. The hubby got the job after 12 gruelling interviews with everyone at the company including the janitor. They flew him out to San Jose and grilled him further by making him do a technical presentation on their products. I'm thrilled that he passed their rigorous interrogation. Whew. Back to work after six months!

drbj profile image

drbj 4 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for sharing that great good news, Peg, and congratulate your hubby for me. Guess he didn't mention the warthog and the flatulence thing.

I have found that the more folks who interview you at one company (including the janitor), the more chance you have of being hired. Because there are more people to ask you intelligent and rigiorous interviewing questions? No, because there are more people to share the blame if you do not work out. True!

Thanks for the return visit - you are always welcome, m'dear.

pstraubie48 profile image

pstraubie48 3 years ago from sunny Florida

Hi drbj..

Thankfully, I do not have to interview any longer. But this is a full of sound advice. Being on top of your game when you interview will get the job in many cases all things being equal.

voted up ++++

sending you many Angels this afternoon. :) ps

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Thanks for reading, Patricia, even if you no longer have to interview. You are free to share this proven 'sound advice' with any of your acquaintances who still do the '9 to 5 thing.'

And you are absolutely correct - being on the top of your game during the interview is crucial! Thanks, m'dear, for both the Up, the pluses and the Angels.

superfly47 profile image

superfly47 3 years ago from Canada

"9 – You only have time to save three things from a fire in your home. Your family is safe. What are the three things?"

An axe so I can get the guy who started the fire.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

That is a clever reply, superfly47, but you may want to rethink using it in a job interview. Why? The interviewer could peg you as an aggressive personality that might present a risk to the company.

superfly47 profile image

superfly47 3 years ago from Canada

I know, it was a joke.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

I know, bro. :)

KoffeeKlatch Gals profile image

KoffeeKlatch Gals 3 years ago from Sunny Florida

How interesting and funny. Let me add creative to that. I loved the questions and answers. Wonderful advice for those looking for a job. Up and pushing all the buttons.

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

So happy you stopped by, KK Gals. Your comments are much appreciated as well as the Up and the button-pushing. Think I'll publish them. Oh, wait, I just did! :)

Wakerra profile image

Wakerra 3 years ago

I have never heard of these interview questions before...where do you work??

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

Hi, Wakerra. These strange, tricky interview questions are often asked of managers and wannabe managers by large companies. If you apply for a non-managerial position, then these questions may not be asked. But be prepared for the 'strengths, weaknesses and tell me about yourself' questions.

For the best answers to routine questions, see my 'Answers to Interview Questions Part One and Part Two.'

Jeannieinabottle profile image

Jeannieinabottle 3 years ago from Baltimore, MD

Funny and helpful! What a great hub!

drbj profile image

drbj 3 years ago from south Florida Author

My pleasure, Jeannie. For more years than I care to mention, I assisted executives in finding, interviewing and networking for new jobs. Thanks for the kind comments, m'dear.

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